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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-05-2008, 10:24 AM Thread Starter
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Thumbs up Mouse ?'s

I'm just getting into raising rodents for feeder animals. I plan on getting a couple large reptiles in the near future and want to have a food source for them. I'm currently enjoying my mice and rats in themselves because I'm pretty surprised at how good of pets the breeding stock is.

8 days ago, a white lab mouse of mine had a litter of 10. Her roomie, a colored mouse also VERY pregnant, helps with caring for them. Then last night she looked SO wide I was sure she would go last night/today - and she did. She had them right in with the older pinks. Should I be worried about the older pinks squishing or out competing the smaller? I saw the white mouse nursing her litter and the colored mouse had a few gathered under her of the small pinks, but I also saw a few of hers that couldn't get to her because of the larger pinks. I think I could get away with moving the older littler down to a man-made nest just a short distance down from the new litter. should I try?
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-05-2008, 10:50 AM
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I don't know if you should worry about the younger litter, as I've never bred. But if you move the litter chances are the mom will just move it right back. If you want to ensure that they are separated you'll have to put them in different enclosures.

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Six new rats
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-05-2008, 11:02 AM Thread Starter
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Yup, the new mother actually went out and grabbed the larger pinks again and moved them right back.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-05-2008, 01:51 PM
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Check to make sure all the babies have milk bands. Their skin is so thin that you should be able to see white in their bellies if they are getting milk. If the little ones do not have milk bands then you might want to separate them.

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Six new rats
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-05-2008, 04:19 PM
 
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I agree with mtmaughan. A week's difference between the babies is a pretty big difference, so you might want to be watchful about the big ones bullying the little ones. I've had 2 mice have litters a day or 2 apart, but no more than that, and it always works out well. Both moms feed the babies and care for them and if the pile is too big, they sometimes divide them in 2 or 3 smaller piles so they can handle them all (I used to have mice that had 20-25 babies, so the piles could get very big if I had 2 give birth in the same week).
As mtmaughan said, check of milk bellies on the little ones, if you need to separate them, separate the mom with the bigger babies, and put some of the old bedding in the new cage to keep things familiar to the mom and she doesn't freak out too much.
As you continue breeding, I advice you that you keep the male apart from the females, and place a female or 2 with the male at a time, leaving them one week with him and then moving them back to their original cage to give birth. That way they won't get pregnant right away after giving birth, which will make it easier for the mom's bodies and for you on keeping your numbers in a high enough quantity that you have enough food for your reptiles, but not too high as to have too many mice.
Also, keeping the females in groups is a good idea, since all the mice in the cage will help in raising the babies, (moms or not moms) however, groups that are too big will then to be chaotic, as some mice will want to move the babies one way and the other want them somewhere else and you'll end up with babies scattered everywhere. Groups of 2-4 work the best.
If you need any help or advice let me know, and good luck with the little ones!!
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-05-2008, 06:57 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the advice. I'm not sure what I"m looking for when I look for milk bellies (though I've heard that term before) so I just separated the mothers and their litters. I left the new litter alone, and moved out the older litter into a spare 5 gallon I conveniently had nearby. They both seem to be OK with the change. I gave them all some 'salad' foods fresh from our garden, too.

The new litter is also 10 little guys, some with what looks to be lots of color! I'm looking to keep most of these ones, since I heard from a snake breeder that some snakes, if fed a steady color of mice, will refuse other colors of rats/mice, so I want to offer a variety. Plus, since the breeders are pets as well, I'd like some purty ones to look at.

One question, I'm euthing the pinks I don't want at 10-13 days (the white lab's litter) and would it them be OK to move her, litterless, back into her old cage to help with the rearing of the other litter? Would there be fighting or would she fit right back in?
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-05-2008, 07:22 PM
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To look for a milk band,look at the bellies...you will see the milk in their bellies...it is a white mass.Quite easy to see if the young are feeding well.




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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-06-2008, 01:13 AM
 
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Hmmm, I don't know if it would be a good idea to move the other mouse back in. Too much change can stress the mom out, so you want to keep things as regular as possible till the babies open their eyes. Taking out one of the mice with the litter was probably a stressor (even is she's not showing it) and putting her back in in a couple of days might stress her even more.

About the milk belly...

You can see it quite easily, it's the white spot on this baby's belly...


See if you can see it on this pic of a mom feeding her litter:
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-06-2008, 08:09 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the pics, I'll look for the milk bellies. I don't think some of the new pinks were getting enough before I separated, because I don't recall seeing that.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-06-2008, 10:06 AM
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you should definately keep some rats, they're great pets! although if you don't have time for them, mice are more fun to look at. maybe you could keep the odd colour ones? or give them to your friends if snakes wont want them.

good luck with the breeding.


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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-06-2008, 11:22 AM
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Also I should add...make sure the mothers get extra protiens in their diet,because they crave extra nutrients during nursing and if they lack something,they could eat their young.




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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-06-2008, 11:35 PM
 
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I didn't have any problems keeping two litters that were about 2 weeks apart in age together. (I didn't know the second mouse was pregnant and I had to leave the next day for a week so I didn't have much of a choice but to leave them together). The older babies snuggled with the little ones and kept them warm but didn't get pushy with food or anything.
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-07-2008, 12:41 AM
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How are the babies doing?




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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-07-2008, 01:42 PM Thread Starter
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The babies are separate and doing well. The white mice babies are getting big!

Oh, I do have a pair of rats, too.. And I should be picking up some more today sometime too! Will get pics if I get any.
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